Almost every wife will eventually encounter a tough time in her marriage. We’re all going to experience heartbreak and challenge in our lives in general. The question is this. Why are some people able to bounce back from adversity relatively quickly, and why do others seem to remain stuck?
At the risk of you hating me 🙂 …I’ll be honest and let you know that I tend to be very resilient. After an initial period of shock and grief, I’m usually able to quickly pick myself up, dust myself off and move forward. After pondering this ability with God, allow me share a 3-word insight that might help you become more resilient too.
I trust God. Period. Three little words that mean everything! I have decided to believe that God is in control and that His ways are perfect. I have decided to believe that God can and will bring something good out of my hardship. This is what we learn at the end of Joseph’s painful story in Genesis, where Joseph proclaims in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good...” I also take heart from Romans 8:28, where God says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I can bounce back because I trust God and because He says He will never leave me nor forsake me. Do you truly trust God? It’s a decision you get to make, and it makes all the difference.
Many Christian wives have asked me what they should expect from their husbands. In other words, what is godly behavior for a husband? Well, let’s look at what the Bible indicates about this.
Ephesians 5 includes one of the most comprehensive sets of instructions for husbands. It says in verses 25 through 31… “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
Wow! That’s a pretty high standard! Yet God expects husbands to strive to imitate Christ’s selfless love for his bride, the church. My husband Raul was pretty amazing but he still had some flaws, and I bet your husband isn’t perfect either. However, the Christian husband should be seeking to become more like Jesus every day. This means a husband should look out for the best interest of his wife and act in ways that indicates he cherishes her!
That being said, NO Christian husband is as perfect as Jesus! Don’t expect your husband to model Christ’s behavior every single minute of every single day. Your husband is human, and he WILL make mistakes. He will stumble in his attempt to display godly behavior each day. So be thankful if you see him at least trying to follow and obey the Lord, even though he will fall short at times. As believers, we should ALL be seeking to honor and obey the Lord each day.
Nothing will repel your husband (or boyfriend) more quickly than….you acting all self-righteous! However, this is exactly how women act much of the time. We don’t intend to come across as self-righteous, or “better-than”, or arrogant, or “experts” on everything, but we can definitely come across that way to our men! Having that kind of attitude ruins relationships. As Proverbs 18:12 says: “Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.”
So let’s examine ourselves. Do you often correct your husband, giving the impression that you know more than he does? Do you give long-suffering sighs when he forgets to do something, giving the impression that YOU would never do such a thing? Do you make sure you let him know he has disappointed you, while being quick to defend yourself if he says you’ve disappointed him?
Maybe it’s time we stopped acting “better-than” our men! We are ALL a work in progress. Let’s strive this week to display a humble spirit. Instead of repelling your husband, your humility will draw your husband toward you. Wouldn’t you much rather be a fragrance in your husband’s life than an odor?!
Do you ever feel like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling? Do your prayers seem ineffective? Well, could it be that you’ve fallen into a very common pattern of simply using your prayers to tell God what to do, when to do it, and how to do everything?! Hah! I know I’ve fallen into that pattern more times than I care to admit.
The truth is that God doesn’t need us to explain to Him what to do. If we’re being honest, we can acknowledge that we don’t always know the best thing to do. But Jesus does know! So maybe we should ask Him!
Here’s a mind-blowing fact. Jesus is actually praying (interceding) to the Father for YOU right now! Romans 8:34 says “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
Another huge truth from the Bible is that our heavenly Father answer the prayers of people who are praying in line with His will. 1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
Put these two truths together and it becomes clear that the key to powerful prayer is to ask Jesus how He is praying for us or the challenge we’re worried about, and then to pray in alignment with Him. When we start prayer that way, we know we are praying according to God’s will, and God answers those prayers!
If you’re wondering how to know what Jesus is praying, simply ask Him to tell you and then await a gentle nudge of your spirit….a quiet whisper to your heart….a word downloaded into your mind. Jesus says this in John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice…. So ask Him how he’s praying, await his direction, and then join him in that prayer. How powerful!!
In a recent prayer time, God gently confronted me. He asked me this simple question. Are you going to be a slave to your to-do-list today, or are you going to focus on bringing me glory? Here is another way of posing the question for both you and me: Are you working tirelessly to bring yourself glory as the “perfect wife’, “perfect mother”, perfect Christian, etc, or are you releasing your day to God and asking him to show you what to do and what NOT to do in order to bring HIM glory?
Oh man! Busted. To be honest, I tend to drive myself to always do more and do it better, because I want to look good in other people’s eyes. I become exhausted and stressed in the process. The good news is that God didn’t design us to be people-pleasers. Yes, we are to love people, but our focus shouldn’t be on doing whatever they want. Our focus also shouldn’t be trying to look good in people’s eyes. The Bible reminds us in Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?”
I am confident that if you and I were both to release our days to God and ask Him to guide us, we would find much more peace! We would be free of performance-exhaustion. We would find freedom from approval exhaustion. Instead, we would be free to follow God’s promptings, which will lead to greater joy and peace than we’ve ever known. In fact, if you listen for God’s voice, he might even tell you to take a nap or relax while listening to praise music! God’s Word promises that those who seek to follow Him (instead of following their own agenda) will enter peace! (Isaiah 57:2 says, “For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace.” And Isaiah 26:3 reminds us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
I wish I had known about the blessings of a fire pit a long time ago! I had no idea that a fire pit could pave the way to more intimate, deep conversations than we routinely have in marriage. But I’ve discovered it’s true! There’s something bonding and safe about sharing your deepest thoughts, feelings and dreams in the flickering light coming from your backyard fire pit. Maybe it’s because it’s quiet and peaceful at night and, when sitting in front of the fire, we tend to talk in soft voices. Proverbs 15:1 says “A soft answer turns away wrath…” Well, maybe it’s that soft conversation in front of a fire that breaks down our defenses and helps us to open up.
We’ve built a fire pit in our backyard at our last 2 homes. They cost less than $100. We thought a fire pit would be fun for the grandchildren to toast marshmallows and roast hot dogs. But it turned out that my husband and I enjoyed it just as much…for different reasons than the grandkids! As the sun went down, we lit the fire, and then my husband asked what the topic of the night should be. Sometimes, we talked about our dreams for ministry. Some nights, we talked about our concerns for our children and we prayed for them. Other nights, we talked about our dream vacation ideas. Try building a fire pit. You may be pleasantly surprised by the emotional intimacy you gain as a result!
We’ve all heard of self-talk, but allow me to introduce a different kind of internal narrative that can be just as negative as your self-talk. It is the internal talk about your spouse!
The things you say, whether out loud or in your head, greatly influence the way you feel and act. In fact, Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue has the power of life and death“. In other words, when your inner spouse-talk is constantly pointing out your husband’s flaws or rehearsing the past ways he’s let you down…your words reinforce a negative attitude and behavior toward your husband. If not corrected, this negative attitude and behavior on your part can eventually lead to prolonged bitterness, depression, and even the death of your marriage.
Ladies, we must do what the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 10:5…”take every thought captive“. Start noticing the things you are saying in your head about your husband. If a negative thought enters your mind, don’t give it room! Instead, look for something positive to say about your husband. He DOES have some positive qualities. Make sure you spend time engaging in positive inner spouse-talk more than the negative kind!
In case you weren’t yet aware, pornography is a gigantic cancer that is rapidly destroying marriages and entire families. Hundreds of millions of men regularly view pornography (and many women too), and even among Christian men, the problem is rampant. Goodness, even a majority of pastors admit to struggling with temptations to view porn. Back in 2001, a survey found that 54% of pastors had viewed pornography in the past year. I’m sure the numbers are much higher these days.
Why is pornography such a big deal? Well, marriage counselors will tell you, and I will tell you from counseling many women in crisis in their marriages, that pornography usage almost always escalates into something truly horrific. When a man starts viewing pornography, he almost always progresses to more and more perverse pornography as he chases that “buzz” from viewing something sexually arousing. Unfortunately, in many cases, the man can no longer get his “fix” from pornography and ends up committing sexual acts outside of marriage. In either case, the marriage is often destroyed and families are torn apart.
What are some signs of a possible porn problem for your husband? Some common signs include no longer being interested in sex with you, coming to bed after you or exiting the bedroom in the middle of the night, and requesting increasingly perverse or odd sex acts from you. If you notice some of these signs, it may be time to have a serious talk with your husband. However, don’t approach him as an enemy. Approach him in love, as his helper. Remember, in Genesis 2:18, God says “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him.” Approach your husband kindly, but firmly, and let him know you want to help him tackle this problem that could harm both him and your family. Insist that he seek serious, long-term help and accountability.
For many women, especially moms of young children, making love to their husbands seems like yet one more thing on their to-do-list! For an exhausted wife and mother, the idea of carving out time to be physically intimate with her husband sounds about as thrilling as running 15 miles on the treadmill at the gym at 5 o’clock in the morning!
But here’s the thing. We know that most men have an extremely high sex drive. It isn’t their fault. God made them that way. 🙂 So, one of the kindest and most loving things we can do for our husbands is to meet their sexual needs. We need to strive to build a robust sex life with our husbands, and more than likely, you’ll enjoy it too! To be honest, if we don’t have a vibrant sex life within our marriage, we’re setting up each other to subconsciously look for that excitement with someone else. That’s why Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians 7:5 “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self control.”
The question is: How does the exhausted wife (and mother) build a robust sex life that both she and her husband enjoy? Well, I believe she takes a really good look at her schedule of activities and responsibilities to see if there are any things she can cut out. I bet there are some things she could reduce or cut completely! Secondly, she asks her husband for help! Can he put the kids to bed so that she has time to wind down and start thinking about enjoying physical intimacy with her husband? Can he do the dishes after dinner or help the kids with their homework so that she can decompress and maybe take a bubble bath before she and her husband head to bed?
Ask your husband if he would be willing to help with some tasks in the evenings so that you are more able to build a robust sex life with him. I bet it is a trade he is willing to make!
You may be a wife (like I have been in the past) who is stunned when her husband does or says something that isn’t exactly kind and loving. To be honest, at some subconscious level, I guess I expected my husband to always make me happy and do the right thing. In short, I rather expected him to be like Jesus. I mean, after all, he was a Christian, for heaven’s sake!
Hmmm. On the other hand, the Bible makes it clear that no human being is perfect. Psalm 14:3 says, “there is no one who does good, not even one“. So, perhaps it’s time for you to take your husband off the hook. I’m not saying that you should give him a free pass on blatant, destructive sin. Jesus makes it clear we should confront someone who is truly sinning against us. You can read his instructions about that in Matthew 18:15-17.
However, I do believe it’s time for Christian wives to start being gracious to their husbands in terms of looking beyond their minor faults and annoying quirks. Does he sometimes drive more aggressively than you would like? Maybe you can be gracious about that (while praying for safety!). Does he fall short in the romance department? You can be gracious about that too. Does he sometimes snap at you when he’s stressed. That makes him human! Remember he is a flawed person, just like you! We’re all a work in progress…in the master’s hands.